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Sinn: Robustness & reliability of real tool watches Made in Germany

Anna Wu-Chauvineau
Le 10 April 2017

After a rather intense Baselworld 2017 where emotions were high and the atmosphere rich with watchmaking news, complications, hot releases and re-editions, it’s time to ground our feet and recenter on something more affordable, and that makes good sense. Everyday watches built to last, without the flamboyance nor the frills, just plenty of honest wholesome attributes. Allow me to draw your attention to the German brand SINN that we’ve known for a while now and had the chance to see at Basel.

Helmut Sinn: A history of pilots…and of “family”

Sinn is a company that develops and manufactures watches. Functional, robust and professional watches which carefully respect the demanding norms of the profession and of the activities for which they are produced. And with reason. Founded in 1961 by the German pilot and flight instructeur Helmut Sinn (who recently celebrated his 100 years last September, and who stopped flying only quite recently), the company produced navigation tools for the aeronautical industry right from the beginning, but also chronographs for pilots. Aviation watches made by pilots, for pilots. No bullshit here.

Sinn U1 Diver

Clarity, functionality, robustness and reliability. Do these words ring any bells? It’s not surprising that Helmut Sinn was the first to believe in and produce the first series of chronographs designed by Bruno Belamich. Bruno, it Mr. Bell of Bell & Ross. We know all about the success story and the wonderful evolution of this brand from their release of the first Bell & Ross by Sinn.

If the centenary pilot who gave his name to this brand is no longer captain of the ship (or in this case, the plane) since 1994, the company remains controlled by familiar hands. Helmut Sinn had actually sold the organisation in 1994 to Lothar Schmidt, engineer working for Sinn, and former Production Manager at IWC and A. Lange & Söhne for more than 15 years. A certain guarantee of diligence and love of fine craftsmanship.

Sinn 103ST SA E

A company that in almost 7 decades of existence has known only 2 directors, carefully chosen for the role. Dependability and reliability, exactly like the watches they produce. Let’s take a closer look shall we?

Sinn 903St: A legitimate “Navitimer”

Sinn 903ST B E

With its circular aviation slide rule and its fluted markers and bezel, the Sinn 903St looks like the Navitimer’s brother. Neither a coincidence nor a carbon copy, history has it that in December of ’78, during the Quartz crisis, Breitling was forced to close its manufacture in Chaux-de-Fonds as well as its office headquarters in Geneva. The sketches of the legendary model were hence purchased by Sinn, who actually continues to make the cockpit icon today, under the reference 903. The name “Navitimer” was then sold to Ernest Schneider from the house of Breitling, who would later leave the company a few months later in April 1979.

Therefore, legitimate historical and aeronautic value for this beautiful pilot’s watch with a market worth of 2790 EUR. Not exactly the same starting price as the Navitimer.

Specialised solid steel for pilots & divers

Whether we’re talking about pilot chronographs or dive watches, it’s been quite a while now since we’ve been openly professing our unconditional love for tool watches. Sinn fills our hearts with song in the two departments with very professional timepieces that are conform to all standards and most of all, to the respective activities for which they were made.

Sinn U1 Diver

As evidence, right from the start of the diver adventure, Sinn decided to develop a special type of steel for its cases and straps, perfect for deep sea exploration. The brand hence began a privileged relationship with the manufacturer of German submarines, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, who supplied them small quantities of surplus alloy made for building the exterior of German submarines, the “Class 212.” The world’s current submarine reference? Yes, that’s the one. Now this is what we call “Deutsche Quälitat.”

Sinn U1 Diver

Our take

A brand to know if you like watches that make sense and real tools chiseled for adventure, by land, air or sea.

Irrefutable manufacturing quality and functionality at a price positioning that remains relatively affordable since most pieces are between 1,000EUR and 3,000EUR. No frills here. It’s less about talk, more about watches. A formula that we find more than convincing…